King’s College Saint Michael’s is an international boarding school in England. The college is located in the county of Worcestershire – a region famous for its apple orchards and rolling hills. The rural location of Saint Michaels has made it an excellent place to study for many years and its distance from a large city has become customary for most boarding schools in England. Tenbury Wells, although small, has a long history dating back to the Iron Age and in fact, many believe that the remains of the famed King Caractacus who fought against the Roman invaders, lie undiscovered nearby. In the 13th century, Tenbury first appears in historical records as Temettebury (the name deriving from its positioning on the river Teme), when it received a Royal Charter to hold a market in 1249. Although Saint Michael’s place in Tenbury’s history comes much later it is important to note that during the 13th century a small number of boarding schools in England had begun to appear, though there are some which date back even further.
In 1856, Tenbury Wells was chosen as the location for a new boarding school in England by Sir Frederick Gore Ouseley due to its near-equidistant proximity to the two cathedral cities of Hereford and Worcester. Ouseley, a professor of music at Oxford University came to Tenbury Wells to build a choir school which would serve as a model for Anglican Church music. Although many schools at the time had a connection with the church, this was quite a unique stance for a boarding school in England as its primary educational focus was on the choral music rather than a religious education.
Tenbury Wells is approximately 40 minutes from the cities of Worcester and Hereford and only 50 minutes from Birmingham International Airport. Birmingham’s stance as Britain’s second city makes it a popular destination not only for tourists, but also for students searching for boarding schools in the UK. In fact, many boarding schools in England are located within the West Midlands and its surrounding countryside.
As is often the case with international boarding schools in England, the lack of British students is offset by the cultural make-up of the local community. Tenbury Wells has a population of just over 3000 and is a quintessentially British part of the country. Other than the 25-28 nationalities that study at Saint Michael’s every year, the population of the town is predominantly British. The local community however, are very used to the cultural diversity of Saint Michael’s and the students have assimilated well into the community through a number of projects, such as our collaboration in partnership with the local high school – Tenbury Ormiston Academy. Not only does this give international students an insight into a typical British state school, but it also gives local students the chance to see what an international boarding school in the UK is really like.